Vacancies hit school education
Jalandhar June 19:
Owing to nearly 3,500 vacant posts of teachers, the state government-aided schools, which are a backbone of the pre-college education in most of the big cities and towns, are facing a serious crisis.
Sources said that since 2006 the state government had not given its approval to fill the vacant posts in such schools. The state government's sanction has to be taken to fill the posts because 95 per cent of the total salary is paid by it to the teachers posted against approved posts. Some years ago, the state government had given approval to fill 444 posts.
There are 480 government-aided schools in the state. Of these, 400 are middle, high and senior secondary schools and the remaining are primary schools. Most of these schools are located in urban areas. For instance, there are about 22 schools in Ludhiana city, 20 in Jalandhar, 18 in Amritsar, seven each in Bathinda and Ropar town. Non-filling of the vacant posts would seriously impact the implementation of the Right to Education Act (REA) in the state.
Under this act, not more than 10 per cent posts of the total approved could be kept vacant in any of the government-aided or approved schools. That means, out of 10 approved posts only one post could be kept vacant. However, at present there are aided schools where about 50 per cent of the posts are vacant. Some of the primary schools are on the verge of closure due to this factor.
The other issue that is bothering the aided schools is with regard to the resuming of the pension. Sources said that on the intervention of the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the case regarding the resumption of pension had now been sent to the Finance Department. Teachers and other employees who retired on May 31, 2003 or before, are getting pension. But the government terminated the pension scheme in case of those employees who retired from these schools after May 31, 2003.
"About 2,800 teachers and other employees have been waiting for the resumption of the pension scheme. About 100 employees have died after March 31, 2006, waiting for the pension," said a retired employee from an aided school here. What has given some happiness to employees is that the state government has issued necessary letter to give revised pay scales on the pattern of their counterparts in government schools to teachers and other employees in aided schools. The number of such employees, who would get revised pay scales from January 1, 2006, is about 8,000. The arrears of revised pay would be given in installments.